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The Dawn To Dusk Aqua Flow Bottle With Dirt Mask has two innovative and practical features that make muck-free one-handed drinking easy and fast. It may leak if slung in a bag though, because you can't lock the valve.
The first of this bottle's standout features is the Dirt Mask cover, which I reviewed separately here – because you can buy it separately to retro-fit to other bottles.
The Dirt Mask is a spring-loaded cover that seals mouthpiece from mud and water, and it works brilliantly – you can easily flip it open with your thumb whilst riding. You get a spare rubber O-ring too, but in a year's riding and dishwashering all four of mine are still fine. The Dirt Mask is easily removable, as well.
The second key feature is the nozzle. Made from 'medical grade silicone,' it's an unusual design that – unlike almost every other bottle valve I've ever used – doesn't actually lock closed. So you don't have to grip it and pull up with your teeth to start the water flowing, you just tilt the bottle and either squeeze, suck, or both if you're really thirsty.
If you hold the bottle upside down or lie it on its side no water comes out, or not until a reasonable amount of pressure is put on the bottle sides. That could easily occur in a bag or pack, however, so it's better for either cage mounting or standing upright in a pocket.
This design is presumably a tradeoff for improved flow rate, and it really works - a combination of squeezing and sucking delivers a massive gulp of water quickly. The bottle is perfectly balanced in terms of wall thickness and material, to feel just right in the hand. It also grips cages well, with a deep indentation for cage lips to grab.
In a year's bashing about on seriously rowdy gravel tracks and red/black mountain bike trails, I never had this come loose – at least not in combination with Dawn To Dusk's own cages (reviews to come).
The Aqua Flow bottle is a smokey clear material marked in 4oz gradients. 20oz is 600ml, and the bottle maxes out at 725ml filled to the brim. After a year's use it's showing obvious scratches from hundreds of rides, but as the logo simulates rough paint or splashes it doesn't look shabby.
Taste-wise the BPA-Free, biodegradable and phthalate-free polyethylene is just the ticket – there's no plasticky taste at all.
At £15.49 with the Dirt Mask included (or £10.99 without), it's certainly not cheap. The major competitor is the £7.50, also mud-proof Elite Fly MTB 750 bottle, but having purchased a few, I found all the caps failed at the hinge within a few months.
The 620ml Camelbak Podium Dirt Series bottles are basically the same price as the Aqua Flow at £15, but use a much smaller cap over the bite valve. I haven't used one of these, but it looks like you'll need two hands to hold the bottle and remove the cap. Also the cap is not captive, and could get lost easily.
Having run a very extended test on the Aqua Flow with Dirt Mask, I'm sold. They're easy to drink fast from, the Dirt Mask keeps the nozzle completely free of cack, and one-handed operation means you keep on rolling. They're secure in their cages (sold separately), and still look good a year on.
Yes, it's expensive, but the functionality and longevity means the investment is sound.
Great bottle for rough, dirty and exhausting trails
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Dawn To Dusk Aqua Flow Bottle with Dirt Mask
Size tested: 740ml
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's for people wanting to drink fast, on the go, from a bottle not covered in mud or poo.
Dawn To Dusk says: "All the features you could want in one clear bottle. The 740 mL (25 oz) Aqua Flow is the ideal water bottle for gravel and adventure bikes. It provides instantaneous refreshment from the latest Squeeze & Squirt technology. A fast flow of refreshment keeps you riding longer. Dirt Mask covers cap to keep that ice cold drink clean of grit."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
1. Patented auto shut-off nozzle with medical grade silicone valve
2. Jet-like flow. Drink 4 oz in 7 seconds
3. 4 oz graduations help control your rehydration
4. 12.7 mm (1⁄2') deep groove. Great for secure cage grip
5. Tapered for easy cage insertion
6. BPA-Free, Biodegradable, Phthalate-Free
For complete cap coverage from dirt, use with Dawn to Dusk Dirt Mask
740 mL (25 oz)
Taste free. BPA Free Polyethylene
Bottle Only – 70 grams, Bottle with Dirt Mask – 91.7 grams
Bottle Only – 232 mm (9.125"), Bottle with Dirt Mask – 235 mm (9.25")
Without Dirt Mask, With Dirt Mask
Easy, Moderate, Tough, Extreme
The material works well for a bottle destined to be battered about.
Being able to drink lots, fast and one-handed, is a huge win.
Some scratching evident after much use, but still looks good.
Not overly weighty for the features.
The soft squeezy bottle and no-bite nozzle are great.
Given the ruggedness and parts availability, the value is great.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performance is great - it gets lots of water into your mouth, fast.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The Dirt Mask and the valve.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fact the valve can't be locked.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Pretty well - the same price as the Camelbak Podium, but better functionality.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The inability to lock the valve is really the only negative, as spills could be a possibility in a bag. Otherwise it's perfect.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.